Depression is not merely an emotional upheaval or a physical condition; depression is also a spiritual assault on the truth of God’s love, the promise of his care and concern, and his desire for you to experience an abundant life.
Faith is complete trust or confidence, and belief is an acceptance that something is true. When you don’t feel like loving yourself, God still does. When you don’t feel you are worthy of recovery, Christ demonstrates your worth through his death. When you don’t have the strength to continue, God offers his Spirit.
The following are some positive steps you can take to gain spiritual support for your recovery.
If you don’t already have a Bible, I encourage you to get one, and pick a theme verse for your recovery. Look in the concordance in the back of the Bible and search for verses with certain key words like “hope,” “joy,” or “peace.” Make sure your choice reflects the way God feels about you, not the way you feel about yourself. If you have trouble finding a theme verse, you might try Mark 9:23–24: “Everything is possible for the one who believes. … Help me overcome my unbelief!” Memorize your verse and use it to keep focused on recovery.
If you already have a Bible you use consistently, I encourage you to try a different version. Sometimes, reading over a verse with a different word or phrasing can open up new meanings. Try reading the same verse or passage from a different translation (or two).
If you are not attending a religious service, make plans to start attending one. Look in the newspaper or make calls to religious services in the area that interest you. If you already attend services, recommit to going each week, and take the time necessary to prepare yourself spiritually for the worship experience.
Keep a journal of your prayers. If you are unfamiliar with prayer, consider utilizing the ACTS method:
- Adoration to God
- Confession of sins
- Thanksgiving for his blessings
- Supplication (asking for what you need)
Go to your local Christian bookstore or online and find a spiritual book that touches your heart. You might start with a book by Max Lucado, whose beautiful prose puts God’s love into immediate, personal context. Allow the book to speak to you of God’s forgiveness, love, and mercy.
Consider switching to a Christian radio station or purchase Christian music in a style you enjoy. Listen to it in the car, at home, and at work whenever possible.
Consider making an appointment to talk with a spiritual advisor. Be open about your depression. Pray together and seek God’s wisdom and direction as you continue your recovery.
Invite someone to lunch after services this week. Be open to God’s leading as to whom that person should be. Confirm your faith with that person and be open, if it seems appropriate, about what you are going through. Pick up the check.
Intentionally focus on God. Be aware of God’s presence in your life. Call on his name throughout the day. Visualize Jesus walking with you. Invite him into your life and your thoughts. Maintain a constant sense of prayerful contact.
You must want to keep going, keep growing, keep healing. I promise, if you keep working at recovery, it will come. I have seen it countless times and have witnessed the joy that comes on the other side of depression. I have seen the wisdom gained from living through this dark time of doubt and fear. You will find your way into the light again.
Even pain has a purpose in God’s plan. Pain offers a deep maturity and appreciation for life. It is like climbing to the top of a great mountain, which you cannot accomplish without an arduous ascent. But sunrise at the top of the world puts all of the stumbles, aches, and pains of the climb into perspective. Recovery allows you to see your world and yourself anew.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 38 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.